Leafy highs: Kratom personal use push under way
A House committee is pushing for control measures to be relaxed enough to allow the possession of no more than 20 leaves of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) for personal consumption.
Thepthai Senpong, Democrat Party MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, who chairs the committee assigned to solve problems related to marijuana, hemp and kratom, said the committee will ask national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda to provide more information on the matter.
Mr Thepthai said it has been proposed that an individual who possesses no more than 20 leaves of the narcotic for personal consumption should be spared legal action.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will also be asked if it is possible to legalise krathom, Mr Thepthai said.
Pharmacists, representatives of the National Farmers Council and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will also be asked for opinions, he added.
Mr Thepthai went on to say that the committee will gather feedback from people in the South where consumption of kratom is widespread, before the committee presents all the information to the House of Representatives to relax the law on the narcotic. This is expected mid-year.
Kratom is still categorised as a Type-5 narcotic substance under the 1979 Narcotic Drugs Act. The law does not allow production, consumption, sale, import, export or possession of the drug, unless permitted by the Public Health Ministry on a case-by-case basis.
The FDA previously suggested that the government legalise krathom because experts have found it has medicinal properties and is also a good anaesthetic.
The cabinet recently agreed in principle to take hemp off the narcotics list. However, the matter is still being considered by the Council of State before it is returned to the cabinet for final approval.